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Master Sydney-based horseman Chris Waller continued his brilliant spring carnival at Kembla Grange on Saturday with grand old import Mister Sea Wolf winning the inaugural edition of The Gong 2019.
It’s been a case of no Winx, no worries for Waller over the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival with the Kiwi expat winning everything from the $14 million The Everest (Yes Yes Yes) to the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (Kolding).
Throw in an Epsom Handicap (Kolding) and Bondi Stakes (Kubrick) victory and it’s been another lucrative spring for the ace trainer who added the first edition of the $1 million The Gong (1600m) to his record with a tight victory by eight-year-old Mister Sea Wolf.
Impressive two back winning the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in late September with James McDonald in the saddle, the Amedeus Wolf gelding was last seen finishing a disappointing second-last (11th) behind Pierata in the $1 million Redzel Stakes (1300m) on November 2.
Mister Sea Wolf was quick to atone going back up to a mile in The Gong, reuniting with the in-form McDonald to score a narrow upset as a $21 outsider over the Mark Newnham-trained Quackerjack ($6).
Waller prepared two of the first three over the line in The Gong trifecta with Star Of The Seas, ridden by big race specialist Glen Boss, also running well in third.
“They do a marvellous job the stable,” McDonald said post-win.
“And for him [Mister Sea Wolf] to out-punch one of the lighter weights, he’s a tough horse and he thoroughly deserved it.”
Mister Sea Wolf gave the weight away to his rivals in the quality handicap carrying the 59kg top-weight, while the eventual runner-up Quackerjack carried just 52kg after carting 55.5kg last time out to win the Goulburn Cup (1400m).
McDonald settled in a one-back, one-out position around fourth aboard Mister Sea Wolf as Jonker led The Gong field around.
Quackerjack was beaten for speed early but did plenty of work to move up into third throughout.
Jonker led into the turn, while Star Of The Seas got a nice gap once on the straight.
Mister Sea Wolf and Quackerjack moved up and hit the front together, with the former just beating the latter in a great finish thanks to a well-timed ride from McDonald in a race where the backmarkers had no chance.
“I was happy with the spot I was in,” McDonald said of the run.
“He travelled really well.
“He’s not a horse that’s ever going to win by a great margin, but he gives me a great thrill.
See below for the full The Gong 2019 results and finishing order.
|1||1||MISTER SEA WOLF (IRE)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||–||8||59kg||$21|
|2||15||QUACKERJACK||Mark Newnham||Ms Rachel King||0.2L||11||52kg||$6|
|3||2||STAR OF THE SEAS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||0.5L||6||55.5kg||$6.50|
|4||7||MILITARY ZONE||Peter & Paul Snowden||Andrew Adkins||0.8L||7||53kg||$5.50EF|
|5||4||EL DORADO DREAMING||Kris Lees||Kerrin McEvoy||1.3L||4||54kg||$7.50|
|6||6||LUVALUVA (NZ)||John Sargent||Tim Clark||1.6L||5||53kg||$5.50EF|
|7||8||SIR PLUSH (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Jason Collett||3.1L||13||53kg (cd 54kg)||$31|
|8||3||NICOLETTA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Tommy Berry||3.6L||15||54.5kg||$71|
|9||13||TAIKOMOCHI||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Winona Costin||3.8L||2||52kg||$31|
|10||10||GOODFELLA||Bjorn Baker||Glyn Schofield||4L||10||53kg (cd 54kg)||$21|
|11||11||JONKER||David Atkins||Brock Ryan (a)||4.1L||9||53kg||$51|
|12||9||NOBLE BOY||Todd Blowes||Brodie Loy||4.6L||3||53kg (cd 53.5kg)||$12|
|13||5||LOOKS LIKE ELVIS||Bryan Dais||Blaike McDougall||5.1L||12||53.5kg||$31|
|14||17e||ASTERIUS||Chris Waller||Ms Kathy O’Hara||5.2L||1||52kg||$18|
|15||14||ARTICUS (FR)||Kris Lees||Andrew Gibbons||7L||14||52kg||$101|
|16||16||TAMARACK (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Jay Ford||10.8L||16||52kg||$101|
|–||19e||ESTEEM SPIRIT||Gwenda Markwell||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||20e||ALL BUT GONE||Damien Lane||Serg Lisnyy||–||0||–||–|
|–||18e||RANIER||James Cummings||Ms Kathy O’Hara||–||0||–||–|
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